A bagful for Japan

Japanese swimmers dominated the pool, with a rich haul of 14 golds, five silvers and a bronze, in the inaugural edition of the Afro-Asian Games.

V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Muzuki Wakabayashi after winning the 50m butterfly gold. The Japanese won four gold medals in the Games. -- Pic. K. R. DEEPAK-

Japanese swimmers dominated the pool, with a rich haul of 14 golds, five silvers and a bronze, in the inaugural edition of the Afro-Asian Games. They asserted their supremacy in no uncertain terms. And individually, the star who stole the show was the 23-year-old Muzuki Wakabayashi. He won four gold medals - 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 50m butterfly and 4 x 100m freestyle relay.

South Africa finished second with eight gold, nine silver and eight bronze medals while China was third with five gold and two silver medals.

The Indians, though they finished without any gold, had the satisfaction of winning eight silver and 11 bronze medals. The most redeeming feature for the host in the Games was the qualification of Shikha Tandon for the 2004 Athens Olympics by her silver medal performance in the 50m freestyle, clocking 0:26.50.

The competition was off to a grand start with the Algerian swimmer Sofiane Daid bagging a double. Twenty-year-old Sofiane first won the 400m individual medley gold with a timing of 4:39.89 and then playing a lead role in guiding his team to winning the 4 x 200m relay freestyle race as the team clocked 7:5782.

Quite surprisingly, star swimmer Richa Misra, who set the same pool ablaze with a rich haul of medals in the last year's National Games, was disappointing. Her campaign in the Games was off to a dismal start, finishing fourth in the 200m butterfly on a day when India's Arun Venkatraman provided the brightest spot in the 50m backstroke (0:28.20) to win the silver. Even as Richa struggled, Reshma Millet delighted the hosts the same evening winning the bronze in the 50m backstroke with a timing of 2:07.56 in women's section.

On the third day of the competition, the capacity crowd witnessed a touching sight of South African Natalie Dutoit, the one-legged swimmer (her left leg was amputated two years after a road accident), picking the silver in the 800m freestyle (9:19.74). "Yes, I had come here to send a message to the world. I am really excited to win this medal," said the beaming Dutoit.

India's best show came on the fourth day when Mandar Anand Divse and Nisha Millet won a silver each in men's and women's sections respectively.

The 17-year-old Mandar Anand, who won the silver in the 1500m freestyle (16:49.75) picked his first medal in the seniors category. Nisha Millet picked the silver in the 400m freestyle with a timing of 4:31.33. The 21-year-old Millet felt that she was a bit slow to start and could not really accelerate till the 200m-mark. The team of shikha Tandon, D. Mrudula, Reshma Millet and Richa Misra saw India win the silver in the 4 x 100m medley relay.

Algerian swimmer Sofiane Daid bagged a double. He has just finished first in the 400 medley. -- Pic. K. R. DEEPAK-

To the dismay of the enthusiastic crowd, which has been the feature right throughout the competition, Richa Misra fumbled in the 100m butterfly finishing fourth (1:05.25) with the South Africans Lauren Sparg of South Africa (1:03.01) and Chanella Van Wyk (1:04.17) and Zimbabwean Luisa Gavazzi (1:05.25) settling for the first three places.

The results:

Men: 50m freestyle: 1. Nachaev Ravil (Uzbekistan) 0:23.63, 2. Than Zuo (China) 0:23.70, 3.Musa Bakare (Nigeria) 0:23.87.

400m individual medley: 1. Sofiane Daid (Algeria) 4:39.89, 2. Malick Fall (Senegal) 4:44.17, 3. Rehan Poncha (India) 4:45.71.

4 x 200m freestyle: 1. South Africa 7:57.82, 2. India 8:9.57, 3. Uzbekistan 8:14.50.

100m breaststroke: 1. Genki Imamura (Japan) 1:03.40, 2. Sofiane Daid (Algeria) 1:03.67, 3. Malick Fall (Senegal) 1:03.40.

200m butterfly: 1. Yohei Kato (Japan) 2:03.96, 2. Aghiles Slimani (Algeria) 2:05.92, 3. Rehan Poncha (India) 2:07.90.

50m backstroke: 1. Mizuki Wakabayashi (Japan) 0:26.05, 2. Arun Venkatraman (India) 0:28.20, 3. Michael Mars Danilo (Phillipines) 0:29.12.

200m individual medley: 1. Quying Kunpeng (China) 2:06.65, 2. Yohei Kato (Japan) 2:07.31, 3. Sofiane Daid (Algeria) 2:08.23.

400m freestyle: 1. Mahrez Mebarek (Algeria) 4:07.66, 2. Nicholas Rupert Wilson (South Africa) 4:09.56, 2. Charlton Lee Lawson (South Africa) 4:14.58.

4 x 100m relay freestyle: 1. Japan (Wakabayashi Mizuki, Imamura Genki, Kjima Takamitsu, Nagura Naoki) 3:46.45, 2. Africa (Mahrez Mebarek, Sofiane Daid, Slimani Aghiles & Nabil Kebabd) 3:56.71, 3. India (T.K.Senthil Kumar, Gairik Bardhan, K.Rajeev, Benoy Sebastian) 4:07.89.

1500m freestyle: 1. Charlton Lee Lawson (South Africa) 16:43.83, 2. Mandar Anand Divse (India) 16:49.75, 3. Steven Alex Mangroo (Seychelles) 17:29.44.

200m breaststroke: 1. Genki Imamura (Japan) 2:17.04, 2. Sofiane Daid (Algeria) 2:17.88, 3. Mallik Fall (Senegal) 2:20.56.

4 x 100m freestyle: 1. Africa (Nabil Kebab, Nicholas Wilson, Slimani Aghiles, Mahrez Mebarek) 3:30.45, 2. China (Quyang Kunpeng, Lin Yi Che Zuo, Zeng Qiliang) 3:44.82, 3. India (Deepak Kumar Singh, N. A. Krishna, Parikshit Shetty, Sujith) 3:45.42.

200m freestyle: 1. Takamitsu Kojma (Japan) 1:54.10, 2. Mahrez Mebarek (Algeria) 1:55.29, 3. Nicholas Rupert Wilson (SA) 1:55.69.

50m breaststroke: 1. Sofiane Daid (Algeria) 0:29.22, 2. Mallik Fall (Senegal) 0:29.45, 3. Eric Williams (Nigeria) 0:29.83.

100m backstroke: 1. Mizuki Wakabayashi (Japan) 0:56.26, 2. Yoshi Ki Kano (Japan) 0:58.26, 3. T. Senthil Kumar (India) 1:02.04.

The Indian quartet of (from left) Shikha Tandon, D. Mrudula, Richa Mishra and Reshma Millet which won the silver in the 4 X 100 metres medley relay. -- Pic. K. R. DEEPAK-

100m butterfly: 1. Aghiles Slimani (Algeria) 0:56.58, 2. Nabil Kebab (Algeria) 0:57.44, 3. Lubrey Lim Lung (Malaysia) 0:57.45.

50m butterfly: 1. Muzuki Wakabayashi (Japan) 0:24.69, 2. Musa Bakare (Nigeria) 0:25.41, 3. Aghiles Slimani (Algeria) 0:25.41.

200m backstroke: 1. Yoshi Ki Kanno (Japan) 2:07.64, 2. Mir Akbar Ali (India) 2:12.66, 3. Mahrez Mebarek (Algeria) 2:15.42.

100m freestyle: 1. Takamitsu Kojima (Japan) 0:51.52, 2. Naoki Nagura (Japan) 0:52.26, 3. Allan Ong Hou Ming (Malaysia) 0:52.44.

Women:

100m freestyle: 1. Ingrid Gail Haiden (South Africa) 1:12.40, 2. Horoka Sakamoto (Japan) 1:13.29, 3. Ziada Jardine (South Africa) 1:13.47.

200m butterfly: 1. Park Kyung Hwa (Korea) 2:15.90, 2. Shin Bo Mi (Korea) 2:19.91, 3. Chanella Van Wyk (South Africa) 2:20.92.

200m freestyle: 1. Yingwen Zhu (China) 2:06.45, 2. Christine Zwiegers (South Africa) 2:06.72, 3. Nisha Millet (India) 2:07.56.

50m backstroke: 1. Inyenginikabo Obia (Nigeria) 0:31.68, 2. Lianne Marice Marquiz (Phillipines) 0:31.92, 3. Reshma Millet (India) 0:32.06.

200m individual medley: 1. Lee Sun A (Korea) 2:25.03, 2. Faiza Sabria Dahane (Algeria) 2:25.83, 3. Luisa Gavazzi (Zimbabwe) 2:28.69.

4 x 100m freestyle: 1. Korea (Cho A Ra, Park Kyung Hwa, Shin Bo Mi, Kim Mi Ryung) 4:00.07, 2. Africa (Christine Zwiegers, Sabria Dahane, Jakie Wellman, Ellen Hight) 4:04.43, 3. India (Shikha Tandon, Lisa Mahanta, V.Remya & Ambica Iyengar) 4:16.55.

800m freestyle: 1. Shrone Austin (Seychelles) 9:16.46, 2. Natalie Dutoit (South Africa) 9:17.92, 3. Velia Janse Van R (South Africa) 9:19.74.

400m freestyle: 1. Hua Chen (China) 4:25.90, 2. Nisha Millet (India) 4:31.33, 3. Nathalie Dutoit (South Africa) 4:32.53.

200m breaststroke: 1. Hiroka Sakamoto (Japan) 2:33.50), 2. Ingrid Gail Haiden (South Africa) 2:35.62, 3. Cho A Ra (Korea) 2:37.53.

4 x 100m medley relay: 1. Africa (Obia Iyenginikabo, Ingrid Haiden, Lauren Sparg, Christine Zwiegers) 4:24.58, 2. India (Shikha Tandon , D. Mrudula, Rehshma Millet, Richa Misra) 4:37.51, 3. Phillipines (Liane Marquez, Aphrodite Magbanalav, Marine,la Arabejo, Nicole Santiago) 4:05.15.

50m breaststroke: 1. Ziada Jardine (South Africa) 0:33.12, 2. Jung Seul Ki (Korea) 0:33.97, 2. Ingrid Gail Haiden (South Africa) 0:34.04.

Top finishers in 200m backstroke: Yoshki Ki Kanno of Japan, (gold, centre), Mir Akbar Ali of India (silver, left) and Mahrez Mebarek of Algeria (bronze). -- Pic. K. R. DEEPAK-

100m backstroke: 1. Nozomi Nobe (Japan) 1:04.34, 2. Bang Eun Gi (Korea) 1:05.70, 3. Inyenginikabo Obia (Nigeria) 1:07.78.

100m butterfly: 1. Lauren Sparg (South Africa) 1:03.01, 2. Chanella Van Wyk (South Africa) 1:04.17, 3. Luisa Gavazzi (Zimbabwe ) 1:05.25.

50m butterfly: 1. Lauren Sparg (South Africa) 0:28.53, 2. Atsumi Yamada (Japan) 0:29.20, 3. Channel Van Wyk (South Africa) 0:29.26.

200m backstroke: 1. Nozomi Nobe (Japan) 2:20.00, 2. Bang Eun Gi (Korea) 2:22.46, 3. Nisha Millet (India) 2:27.40.

100m freestyle: 1. Atsumi Yamada (Japan) 0:57.92, 2. Christine Zwiegers (South Africa) 0:58.00, 3. Shikha Tandon (South Africa) 0:58.61.

Final medals tally (gold, silver and bronze in that order): 1. Japan (14-5-1), 2. South Africa (8-9-8), 3. China (5-2-0), 4. Algeria (4-6-4), 5. Korea (4-4-1), 6. Nigeria (1-1-3), 7. Uzbekistan (1-0-1), 8. Seychelles (1-0-1), 9. India (0-8-11).